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  • Author: Michael Emerson, Nathalie Tocci, Bruno Coppieters, Alexandru Liono, Sergiu Celac, Brenda Shaffer, Thomas Waelde, Sergei Vinogradov, Armando Zamora, Terry Adams
  • Publication Date: 07-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The problems surrounding the Chechen conflict are indeed many and difficult to tackle. This paper aims at unveiling some of the mysteries covering the issue of so-called “Islamic fundamentalism” in Chechnya. A comparison of the native Sufi branch of Islam and the imported Wahhaby ideology is made, in order to discover the contradictions and the conflicts that the spreading of the latter inflicted in the Chechen society. Furthermore, the paper investigates the main challenges President Aslan Maskhadov was facing at the beginning of his mandate, and the way he managed to cope with them. The paper does not attempt to cover all the aspects of the Chechen problem; nevertheless, a quick enumeration of other factors influencing the developments in Chechnya in the past three years is made.
  • Topic: Security, Defense Policy, NATO, Terrorism
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros, Carsten Hefeker
  • Publication Date: 07-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: What policy objective should a common central bank in a heterogeneous monetary union pursue? Should it base its decisions on the EU-wide average of inflation and growth or should it instead focus on (appropriately weighted) national welfare losses based on national rates of inflation and growth? We find that a central bank that minimises the sum of national welfare losses reacts less to common shocks and that this can lead to higher average union-wide expected welfare, if the variability of common shocks is large relative to the inflation bias. But for countries with a transmission mechanism close to the average, welfare can actually be lower in this case. The inflationary bias depends on the interaction between the transmission mechanism and distortions in labour markets.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance, Migration, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Kimberly A. Clausing
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Multinational firms are an increasingly important part of international economic integration. In recent years, foreign direct investment has been increasing at a rate that exceeds both the rate of growth of international trade and that of income. For many countries, the sales of affiliates of multinational firms have long dwarfed the value of trade. For example, in 1997, European Union country firms exported $283 billion in products to the United States. In the same year, affiliates of E.U.-based multinational firms sold $816 billion worth of products in the United States, almost three times the value of exports.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance, Migration, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Paul Brenton, John Sheehy, Marc Vancauteren
  • Publication Date: 04-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: With trade in industrial products between the EU and the CEECs now essentially free of tariff and non-tariff restrictions, the principal impact of accession to the EU on trade flows will be through access to the Single Market of the EU. A key element of this will be the removal of technical barriers to trade. In this paper we try and highlight the importance of technical barriers to trade between the EU and the various CEECs, distinguishing sectors according to the different approaches to the removal of these barriers in the EU: mutual recognition, detailed harmonisation (old approach) and minimum requirements (new approach). We utilise two sources of information on technical regulations: a sectoral classification from a previous study of the impact of the Single Market and our own detailed translation of EU product related directives into the relevant tariff codes. The analysis suggests that the importance of technical barriers varies considerably across the CEECs. The adjustment implications of access to the Single Market are likely to be greatest for those most advanced in their accession negotiations.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance, Migration, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Michael Emerson, Jorge Núñez Ferrer
  • Publication Date: 02-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This paper describes the development of the negotiations from the birth of the Agenda 2000 proposals to the end of the Berlin European Council Summit and discusses the consequences of the outcome. The study shows to what extent net contributions to the EU budget and narrow national interests dominated the negotiations, at the expense of the original aims of the reforms (to prepare the Union for enlargement and for the next round of WTO negotiations), which were practically forgotten. This type of behaviour is by no means unique. On the contrary, it has been recurrent in the history of the EU. Estimates of future expenditures and own resources show that the Berlin European Council conclusions will prove to be far from satisfactory.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Human Rights, International Trade and Finance, Migration, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Berlin
  • Author: Nuria Diez Guardia
  • Publication Date: 02-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: This report analyses the European consumer credit markets and their regulation at European level. Its findings are as follows: European consumer credit markets are characterised by deep national differences and strong market segmentation. The report finds no generalised model of consumer credit from the analysis of statistical data. An Anglo-Saxon consumer credit model cannot be identified. The weight of consumer credit is far higher in the US economy than in the EU countries, including the UK. In the US, the share of consumer loans made by banks is much lower, securitisation of consumer credit assets is very developed and the share of revolving credit is much greater than in the EU countries. Nor is it possible, on account of the large differences in the use of consumer credit observed across EU countries, to identify a European model of consumer credit. Consumer credit is very widely used in Sweden, whereas it is underdeveloped in Greece and Italy. The use of consumer credit reaches comparatively high levels in Germany and the UK and an intermediate level in France and Spain. Lending to consumers is carried out through bank intermediation, crossborder provision is non-existent.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: United States, United Kingdom, Europe, Greece, France, Germany, Spain, Italy
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 05-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Economic recovery in the region requires stable currencies and open markets. The best way to establish these two basic conditions quickly is for the countries concerned to immediately link their currencies to the euro via a currency board and join the customs union of the EU. The EU should support this radical approach financially in two ways: a) through compensation for lost tariff revenues (conditional on clean and efficient border controls), and, b) emergency loans to acquire the necessary backing for the currency board. The currency boards should graduate to full euroisation in 2002. The total cost for the EU would be modest: around 2 billion euro p.a. if all countries participate. A market-led approach that pays local hosts to house refugees would ensure that the expenditure on refugees benefits the local economies.
  • Topic: Development, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Migration
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Nathalie Tocci, Marc Houben
  • Publication Date: 04-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Can Turkey's demands for equal treatment with EU member states be reconciled with the EU's demand for autonomous decision capacity? This commentary analyses the Turkish position and assesses the theoretical and practical possibilities for accommodating Turkey's demands in the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP).
  • Topic: NATO
  • Political Geography: Europe, Turkey, Middle East
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 04-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: In terms of meeting the fiscal Maastricht criteria, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland are better placed today than were some of the current euro area members from the “Club Med” (Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain) at a comparable point in time leading up to their joining EMU. The CEE-3 should thus be able to qualify for full membership by early 2006, following a decision by the EU as early as 2005.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, Greece, Poland, Hungary, Spain, Italy, Portugal
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 04-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: Health, and not wealth, should be the decisive criterion when considering the prospects of the Central and Eastern European candidates for EU membership and the capacity of the EU to enlarge. Viewed from this perspective, the outlook is promising. The CEECs are still very poor, compared to most of the existing EU members, but they are also much more dynamic. Their growth rates are generally expected to remain around 4-5% for the foreseeable future, compared to about 2-3% for the EU. This still implies that full catch-up in terms of GDP per capita will take decades, rather than years, but full catch-up is not the relevant goal if one is concerned about enlargement. Experience in the EU has shown that problems are much more likely to arise from established rich member countries with stagnant economies (Belgium in the 1980s and part of the 1990s) than poor, but more dynamic states (e.g. Portugal and Ireland today). The fact that most of the so-called 'periphery' is now experiencing stronger growth than the 'core' confirms that EU integration benefits poorer countries even more.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Belgium, Portugal, Ireland
  • Author: Christian Egenhofer, Jan Cornillie
  • Publication Date: 04-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: With the cancellation of the Oslo ministerial mini-summit, the prospects for an early entry into force of the Kyoto Protocol are rapidly fading. Even if the US agrees to an outcome at a resumed COPbis in July, continued Congressional opposition and unresolved questions concerning the developing countries' commitments make US ratification highly implausible.
  • Topic: Environment, International Law, Science and Technology
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Jorge Nuñez Ferrer
  • Publication Date: 04-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The Berlin Summit has been concluded with the suspicious outcome in which every Head of State declares victory. The tone is not so victorious by the Presidency, however, which honestly declared that Germany didn't “win the lottery”. There is reason for suspicion if, after long and arduous discussions to reform policies and reduce EU expenditure, member states declare satisfaction at the result. Something must be amiss, if painful reforms appear not to hurt. In fact, after preliminary calculations and some political considerations, there are grounds to suspect that the reforms proposed are less than satisfactory.
  • Topic: Government
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany, Berlin
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 02-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The ECB has just published the opening balance sheet for the Eurosystem, which is the official name given to the ECB plus the 11 national central banks of the euro zone. All 15 national central banks are part of the ESCB, but the participation of the four outsiders is purely formal. The balance sheet, which is reproduced at the end of this Commentary, reveals two very interesting facts: During 1998, the national central banks of the euro zone increased their holdings of dollar foreign exchange reserves by the equivalent of about 38 bn euro. This means that they de facto intervened consistently to support the dollar during that year. The ECB starts with huge foreign exchange reserves: 237 bn euro plus gold worth 100 bn euro. This is much more than the amount held by the US Federal Reserve and constitutes a major share of the reserves held by all OECD countries.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Regional Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Europe
  • Author: Daniel Gros
  • Publication Date: 02-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The outcome of the first round of wage negotiations in post-EMU Germany sheds some new light on the old question: What impact will the euro have on labour markets and unemployment? Economists would say that it depends on the structure of the bargaining process. In wage-setting, it seems that either one of the two extremes of full centralisation or complete fragmentation is conducive to low inflation and unemployment.
  • Topic: Economics, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe, Germany
  • Author: Karel Lannoo
  • Publication Date: 02-1999
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: With the successful launch of the euro, the start of ESCB monetary policy operations and the operation of Target payment system, the previously national interbank bank markets have been integrated at once in a unified euro interbank market. Outstanding public debt was redenominated in euro, trading conventions harmonised and all EMU stock markets have started quoting in euro. This does not, however, bring us at once to a US-style capital market. Euroland remains profoundly different from the US in the weight of the regions and the importance of banks.
  • Topic: International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States, Europe
  • Author: Francesca di Mauro
  • Publication Date: 10-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: No abstract is available.
  • Topic: International Political Economy, International Trade and Finance
  • Political Geography: United States
  • Author: Karel Lannoo
  • Publication Date: 05-1998
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Centre for European Policy Studies
  • Abstract: The agreement reached in the Council of EU Finance Ministers (Ecofin) on 1 December 1997 on taxation policy can be considered as a landmark in EU direct tax harmonisation. The Council agreed on a package of measures to combat harmful tax competition in the EU, including a code of conduct on corporate taxation and elements which should enable the Commission to draft a new proposal for a directive on the taxation of income from savings. The Council invited the Taxation Policy Group to continue its work and instituted a Review Group to assess harmful tax competition. The first and, until now, last EU measures in the area of direct taxation date back to 1990. These abolished double taxation between enterprises of the same group.
  • Topic: Government, Political Economy
  • Political Geography: Europe